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Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Time to Reboot: A Blueprint for the Palestinian Tech Sector

Despite Israeli occupation and systemic governance challenges, the Palestinian economy faces a unique opportunity to build a thriving technology ecosystem. The current model of global philanthropy-driven tech development in the West Bank, however, is not working. Without a reboot, no progress is likely to be made. As early as 2012, a Cisco report proclaimed that, “Palestine is on the brink of becoming the next high tech global hotspot.” A decade later, this ambitious pronouncement remains unfulfilled. This paper outlines how international actors such as the US State Department can lead an effort, together with other key governmental and international institutions, to accelerate growth in the Palestinian tech sector. Long-term, the proposed model is intended not only to serve the Palestinian economy, but also to strengthen civil society, build state capacity, and facilitate regional collaboration.

Photo of student exploring a xxxxxx

Photo by Alison Hillegeist

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

In-Person Insights Into the Middle East

| Spring 2022

In March, a 13-member delegation of Harvard students traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to participate in a Harvard Kennedy School experiential field course on “Leadership and Social Transformation in the Arab World.”

Conceived and designed by Tarek Masoud, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Governance and faculty director of the Middle East Initiative (MEI), the original model was a comparative, two-week January-term course visiting several Middle Eastern countries. However, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in late 2021, Masoud and his co-instructor, MEI Senior Fellow Sultan Al-Qassemi, reshaped the course into a condensed module—held March 11-20, 2022—focused on the UAE.

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Press Release

Dr. Omar Razzaz, former Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Named Emirates Leadership Initiative Senior Fellow at the Middle East Initiative

Jan. 31, 2022

The Middle East Initiative is pleased to announce that Dr. Omar Razzaz, former Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, will serve as a non-resident Emirates Leadership Initiative Senior Fellow during the Spring and Fall 2022 semesters at Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative (MEI).

Study group members at the Harvard Art Museum

Sultan Al Qassemi

Investigating the Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art

Dec. 08, 2021

This fall, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, an Emirati columnist and researcher who specializes in social, political, and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf and the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation in the UAE, joined the Middle East Initiative as the Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar. One of the ways he has engaged with the Harvard community and shared his expertise is through his study group, “Investigating the Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art.”